I've talked about how I was born into a very small town (actual population around 100). In 3rd grade, my brother and I really moved up big time by changing to a school with a town population of about 1,000. We didn't have to change houses. We had moved to a bigger house on 10 acres soon before my first sister was born. The house just happened to be right in between the two towns. We were technically in the old school district, but this new school district gave us permission to attend. (Funny enough, people from our old school waited until my brother was in high school to question it. Matt was (is!) an amazing athlete - conference MVP, etc. in basketball - and there was a big district game between our two schools. There was talk that there was going to be a protest, and we went to the game wondering what was going to happen. But I guess it blew over; the game went on as normal.)
Of course, I was nervous to start a new school, as most people would be. Despite this and my shyness, I made friends quickly; some of them remain my friends to this day. (And also, once again, loved my teacher, Mrs. Wolff!) Mom had taken us to the school prior to the first day to see whose class we would be in. I was happy to see that Matt R. was going to be in my class. We were already sort of friends because he and his older brother, Sean, played on a ball team with my brother.
Matt R. hung out in my room sometimes, to listen to "records." We sat side by side and held the book together, listening to a story. I had the Fox and the Hound record, which was my favorite movie and story back then.
My favorite music records in elementary: Sesame Street Monsters! - I am thrilled I just found this; I've always wanted to remember which record it was because the songs (my favorite: 5 Monsters in my Family) are still stuck in my head, Annie, and E.T. (It had what I thought was the most beautiful song at the time - Somewhere in the Dark by Michael Jackson.) I would also listen to my parents' stereo in the living room with the gigantic earphones...loved Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gayle, Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie (Hello, is it me you're looking for?), and Willie Nelson records. I remember feeling very emotional, listening to Tanya Tucker's Old Dan Tucker's Daughter.)
It was embarrassing, though, having Matt R. at my house sometimes. I still wet the bed occasionally at this age. The boys were all in our room, and there were no sheets on the bunk bed that Cary and I slept in. Either he or Sean said, "Where are your sheets? Do you pee the bed?"
There was another time the boys slept in a tent in our front yard. We were all playing out there during the day, and somehow the older boys started teasing Matt R. and I about "liking each other." (Both Matt and Sean asked me "to go with them" over the years, but I always said "no." I was way too embarrassed to say I liked a boy back then.) I adamantly protested that I did not. My brother grabbed my arms, and Sean grabbed his brother's arms from behind; they tried to push us together and make us kiss. I was screaming, "No! Stop, or I'll spit on you!" I'm sure my brother can't believe he did this; later, he was always an obvious force, standing between me and any guy.
I don't remember if this was the first day of school or another day, but I cried really hard because I didn't want to wear what my mom picked out for me. It was a red, tropical one-piece outfit with buttons on the shoulder. I guess I liked it okay, but she also wanted me to wear it with my white sandals with colored beads across the top. Looking back on it, I think it sounds fine, but at the time, I felt so embarrassed by it. I think my mom likes tropical-y clothes, in general, and now that I think about it, it totally makes sense. My mom is an outgoing, talkative, extroverted person...and she likes (and looks good in) brighter clothing. I have the opposite personality, and it is rare that I wear anything other than black, brown, gray, or navy. Interesting...
So, anyway, I cried and cried, protesting the combination of a colorful outfit with colorful sandals. Although we are a formidable stubborn match, my mother and me - she won. I also remember wearing that outfit other times with tennis shoes and socks, which was probably my idea. Looking back, the sandals made much more sense.
My school picture...see: another tropical shirt.
UPDATE/EDIT: My mom thinks I'm making fun of her style, and she even insists that I picked this shirt out. So - for the record, I clearly remember liking this shirt. I was not insulting my mother in any way. I am merely telling these stories to emphasize how silly it was that I felt so embarrassed about things all of the time.
The big trauma of my 3rd grade year was breaking my arm. This is the only bone I've ever broken. I was playing with Sarah and Cora on the monkey bars - the kind that just has a ladder on each side and parallel bars all the way across. I was trying to skip bars, and I fell and landed on my left arm. I said, "I think I broke my arm!" But I didn't mean it literally; I just meant that it hurt badly. The bell rang, and all of my friends ran to get in line, leaving me there in a heap. I ended up going to the principal's office, but she was adamant that it wasn't broken because I could move it. My mom took me to the doctor, though, and I got my cast. It wasn't the smooth kind of cast that people could write on, which I was bummed about. A nun (It was a Catholic hospital.) came in and gave me "Good Patient" and smiley-face stickers. When I went to get the cast off, the saw tickled my arm, and there was food underneath it, which was really gross.
The other big trauma of 3rd grade happened on the day of our big field trip to Silver Dollar City. My brother and I were walking to the bus stop. (At our house, we had this really long driveway.) I said I thought I was going to be sick...and then I proceeded to get sick. I went back home, and my mom ended up taking me to school, anyway; I didn't want to miss my field trip. I still felt sick, though. I was standing in the back of the line with my best friend, Sarah, as we were getting loaded into the bus. I told her I was really sick, and she told me to just run to the bathroom. I told her I didn't want to get in trouble for leaving the line...and then I puked right there in front of the building. Still, I didn't want to miss the trip. I ended up riding with a few of the mom chaperones in one of their cars. They thought this would help with the carsickness (the roads from my school to SDC couldn't have been any curvier). I sat in the front seat, between two of them.
I did have a great day at Silver Dollar City. Rode rides. Dipped candles. Then at lunch, I started feeling sick again, and I threw up for the 3rd time. Right on the wood-mulched eating area. These are the only times I've ever thrown up in front of people besides my family. I've never been drunk before - or ever actually "drank," for that matter - which greatly helped this statistic.
For Halloween that year, I dressed up like an Indian. This was me.
The summer after 3rd grade I became obsessed with the Summer Olympics. (This was my fold-out poster book.) I adored Mary Lou Retton. I read everything I could about the entire men's and women's gymnastics teams. Julianne McNamara, Kathy Johnson, Bart Connor, Mitch Gaylord, etc.
This picture was actually taken when I was in the 2nd grade. (I'll move it to my 2nd grade post after everyone reads this; it seems more orderly that way.) However, you can see sort of what it was like in my sibling unit at this point. We were at my great aunt Mert and great uncle Donald's house. See the towel wrapped around my neck? That's when I had pneumonia (so there was probably some kind of medicine or menthol on me). Mert always took really good care of us when we were sick (always the towels around our neck, 7-Up with a straw, and sponge baths); this was our home away from home. See the decorated cactus? That was their "Christmas tree" we decorated every year. There was an article in the local paper once about their "upside-down Christmas tree."
Heading over to Mommy's Piggy Tales to read all of Group 3's fun 3rd grade stories!